Kinsa Health’s Smart Thermometer, which can be connected to smartphones via the headphone jack, has a new feature that allows parents to track the health of children while at school.
Using the app, which is available for iOS and Android phones, parents can submit their child’s temperature (either using the smartphone thermometer or manually) and their symptoms. This can help parents decide whether their children need to go to the doctor, and the app’s ability to track temperature over a period of time can help doctors make a diagnosis. 17 schools tested the Groups app in January before its public release this month.
According to Aditi Pai of Mobi Health News, the Kinsa thermometer is available in CVS, Apple stores, and online at Amazon, Apple’s website, and Kinsa’s website for $29.99. It has been cleared by the FDA, and the app includes features specifically designed for ease of use with children. For example, to keep kids occupied while their temperature is taken, the app produces animated bubbles to pop. When the app has taken a reading, it announces its completion.
Kinsa’s project manager Erin Koehler described the app’s benefits in a blog post:
By joining a Group, you’ll be able to see a real-time snapshot of the health of your child’s school. See how many children at the school are sick and which symptoms are going around or post an anonymous message to share a doctor’s diagnosis or pose a health-related question. We hope this information will empower you and your doctor to make the most informed decisions possible.
Fred Pennic of HIT Consultant reports that the app is completely anonymous, and does not at any point require the input of personal information. The app’s “health report card” tells parents how many children might be sick and what symptoms they have.
Future updates will give users the ability to create custom groups such as connecting neighborhoods or offices. This could improve the effectiveness of preventative measures like extra hand-washing or precautionary sick days.
The Smart Thermometer, says Edward C. Baig of USA Today, was created by Inder Singh, who is an infectious disease expert and served as executive vice president of the Clinton Foundation’s Health Access Initiative. He had the idea after falling ill with something that wasn’t cured by two rounds of antibiotics and turning to Facebook to ask if any of his friends had had a similar illness. He told Jenny McGrath of Digital Trends, “I realized I had zero access to information about the health situation around me. We were in the dark ages.”
The Kinsa Smart Thermometer fits into Singh’s larger goals of preventing illness with greater communication and education. He says,
In 10 years, I hope that there are millions of products all over the world that are using Kinsa software, where we’re able to do real-time sensing on populations’ global health to understand the spread of illness. I hope that we’re able to inform not only individuals but also important public health actors who can help address those issues: the US Centers for Disease Control, the World Health Organization. I hope that we’re able to provide individuals with guidance about what they should do to get better faster.